The thought of baking conjures up many feelings. Whether it be fond memories of being a young child and watching our mothers bake a cake, or helping nanna bake fresh scones on a Sunday morning, the nostalgia we feel provides us with that warm fuzzy feeling, resonant of home, comfort, and love. More often than not, modern cooking conjures up negative feelings, not because the food itself is not good, but because the act of cooking has become a stressful production, all about hurry, not about relishing the moment and taking pleasure in the process. This is why baking is important. So many of us feel alienated from the domestic sphere these days, and baking, in all its happy-nostalgia-conjuring ability can serve as the bridge allowing you to reclaim this lost territory. By turning the anxiety into comfort, of course this will undoubtedly make you feel wonderfully accomplished – a true domestic goddess.
Stock your kitchen with the basics
If you seek to fill your kitchen with glorious smells and become a bona fide domestic goddess, it all starts with stocking your kitchen with some basic essentials. First, a clever cook knows that her safety and protection is imperative so to begin, invest in some oven mitts and an apron before embarking upon your new culinary journey. Other fundamentals include some basic non-stick baking equipment. A silicone baking mat is invaluable in the kitchen; it requires no greasing and can be used for anything from cookies to pies and chips!
Measuring tools are an important part of the baking process. There are many different forms and sizes of measuring devices available, depending on the job at hand. Making a recipe right requires knowing the tools and their uses and using them for the right ingredients. For batters of a runnier consistency, such as pancakes, pikelets or combining wet ingredients an Easy Pour Measuring Jug allows you not only to measure accurately but pour efficiently into the desired tin, pan or bowl. For accurate measurements of small quantities, look for a set of measurers with several conversions which provide versatility by measuring teaspoons, tablespoons, ounces and millilitres without fuss. The more efficient and versatile your basic equipment is, the less you’ll need (and the less clutter for your kitchen drawers)! Along with measuring supplies, other basic essentials include a wooden spoon for mixing batters, a sharper edged large metal spoon for folding mixtures (this is used over a wooden spoon to encourage a lift and cut motion, to preserve the aeration in the mixture and ensure the lightness of the cake) as well as large mixing bowls.
During baking you will no doubt encounter having to separate eggs and whip eggwhites, cream yolks with sugar and everything in between. An egg separator actually does the job for you, taking all uncertainty out of the task and separating your eggs perfectly every time. A little tip though: if you happen to separate by hand and get shell in the mix, use the egg shell itself to remove the small piece of shell, as the offending piece will be coaxed more easily.
There is a certain sense of pride that comes when you wow your family and friends with a baked masterpiece. For your everyday culinary prowess, opting for a spring form pan such as an easy release bakers tin, will assure you your cakes turn out easily every time. Simply unclip the side of the tin and voila! For a fun twist on the traditional cake tin, you could experiment with a Giant Cupcake Mould guaranteed to bring a smile to children and adults alike. If you choose a rigid cake tin, be sure to grease and flour the base and sides or invest in a reusable cake tin liner which saves your cakes from sticking, and allows for easy lifting out of the pan with its high sides.
Change you mindset – take pride in your domesticity!
Becoming a domestic goddess requires a change of mindset. Forget your ill-feelings toward the kitchen, and discourage past memories of frantic cooking. There are precautions, or as I consider them, necessary tools of the trade, which will transform the cooking process for you. It’s all about the right equipment for the job. Trying to stir with a knife is never easy nor is achieving even sized muffins without a measured pouring jug. Success in the kitchen relies on having some basic essentials and the right frame of mind. After all, you can’t expect to be a great tradesman without a decent tool kit can you?
Stay tuned for Part Two – ‘Let the baking begin’ for more handy tips and recipe inspiration!